Letter to the Editors: Langston Hughes in Spain

May 11, 2021

To the Editors:

Thank you so much for the wonderful discussion on Invisible Heroes. I was wondering if you knew if Langston Hughes’ writing on Spain for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper is available in book form. I understand his writing was published in Spanish by BAAM, but I cannot seem to locate a compilation in English. Thank you.

Phil Mazzone

Dear Phillip,

Most of Hughes’ journalistic works for the Baltimore Afro-American are gathered in the Collected Works of Langston Hughes: Essays on Art, Race, Politics, and World Affairs, vol. 9 (University of Missouri Press, 2002). This volume also includes a report for Nation, one for Volunteer for Liberty (which initially was a radio speech for EAR Madrid radio station), and further essays on Spain from the Langston Hughes Papers Collection at the Beinecke Library. If you can access the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database through an academic institution, you’ll also be able to download scanned copies of these articles from the Afro-American archives (the reports were always accompanied by pictures that Hughes sent from the front).

The Beinecke Library at Yale University holds a stunning collection of Hughes’ works, including manuscripts and drafts of these articles. I know they’ve been digitalizing plenty of archival content during the pandemic, you might want to have a look: https://archives.yale.edu/repositories/11/resources/969

Langston Hughes with Lincoln volunteer and poet Edwin Rolfe

Besides, as you mention, these articles were translated into Spanish by Javier Lucini and published in BAAM (2011).  In this volume, Maribel Cruzado Soria did a wonderful job with the translation of Hughes’ poems on Spain. Here you’ll also find the translation of the last chapters of I Wonder as I Wander (1956)—Hughes’ second autobiography—where he tells of his experience in wartime Spain (with hindsight, 20 years after).

I am also attaching a very interesting paper by Josh Roiland (2013) that approaches Hughes’ works for the Baltimore Afro-American from the literary journalism perspective, I hope you enjoy reading it.

Let me know if I can be of any further assistance, Hughes’ works on Spain are absolutely fascinating.


Alba Fernández Alonso

Universidad de Burgos

Dear Alba,

Thank you so much for your time and extreme generosity in sharing with me Langton Hughes’ work, as well as the paper by Josh Roiland. I can’t wait to read about Hughes’ experiences in Spain, and learn more about this fascinating, singular time in our history. A few years ago, I discovered Claude McKay’s Amiable with Big Teeth at our local library (the book itself discovered just a few years before!), and it set me on my own course of discovery about the early fight against fascism, and the men and women who lived and died for something greater than themselves. Thank you again.

All my best,

Phil Mazzone